How much can we expect from Rondo?

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How much can we expect from Rondo?

Coming off one of the greatest performances in Celtics playoff history man, it still feels weird to write that, but there's no denying it's true Rajon Rondo remains the key to any and all Green success.

But the question is: How much can you really expect from him tonight at the Garden? Assuming that another 44-point performance isn't in the cards, how much production do the Celtics actually need to avoid an 0-3 death sentence?

The answer is: There is no answer.

With a player like Rondo, you can't say: "He needs to score 40 or 30 or even 20 points for the Celtics to win. You can't say he needs 15 assists, 10 rebounds or that he needs to play every second. That's because despite the gaudy stats he put up on Wednesday, Rondo isn't about numbers. He may become obsessed with them from time to time, but aside from a random showcase like we saw in Game 2 numbers are never a true measure of the effect he has on a game. It's one of the major reasons we've often seen him stumble into triple-doubles over the course of his career. How he can play what sometimes feels like an awful game but end up with a stat line that's beyond reality for three quarters of the guy's in this league. Because he's freak, but also, again, because he's not about numbers.

He's about the feel of the game, the tempo; he's about energy, intensity and intangibles. That's Rondo. And that's who he has to be tonight. If the numbers come, they come. But it will not make or break the Celtics fate. All he has to worry about is pushing the ball, keeping every one involved and taking what the defense gives him. Which will be very familiar.

Listen, the Heat aren't going to do anything different than they did in Game 2. First of all, because there's no way they're counting on Rondo to hit 10 of 12 jump shots andor 10 of 12 foul shots in consecutive games. Second, because despite all of Rondo success, the Heat still won. Why go crazy changing things? You're really going to alter your game plan because a guy who is a notoriously bad jump shooter had one good shooting night? No way. You do that, and you're just opening yourself up to get beat by Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce, who themselves have a much more explosive and terrifying track record that Rondo does.

In the end, the Heat will leave the door open for Rondo to have another enormous game, but he doesn't need to have one. There's no specific numerical requirement for what they need, except that they need him to be him: Focused. Resilient. Relentless. Rondo.

That will be enough.

And then it's on to Game 4.

Rich can be reached atrlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter athttp:twitter.comrich_levine

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

WALTHAM, Mass. – As the final horn blew in Boston’s 108-98 win over Charlotte on Monday night, the game was a win-win kind of night for Avery Bradley.

The Celtics (26-15) continue rolling over opponents at the TD Garden, and he played a relatively pain-free 33 minutes in the win.

It was Bradley’s first game back after missing the previous four with a strained right Achilles injury.

And the fact that he was back on the practice floor on Tuesday (be it a light practice, mind you), bodes well for his injury being a thing of the past now.

“I felt good. It wasn’t sore at all in the game,” Bradley said. “I felt I was moving good. After the game I was a little sore and this morning, but otherwise I felt good.”

Despite Boston being 4-1 this season when Bradley doesn’t play, he has immense value to this Celtics team at both ends of the floor.

Offensively he has been Boston’s second-leading scorer most of this season and currently averages a career-high 17.7 points per game along with 6.9 rebounds which is also a career high.

And defensively, Bradley is coming off a season in which he was named to the NBA’s all-Defensive First Team for the first time.

Any questions or concerns about the Achilles affecting his play defensively were put to rest Monday night when he put the defensive clamps on Nicolas Batum who missed nine of his 11 shots from the field while primarily being guarded by Bradley.

Now his offense, that’s another story.

Bradley failed to reach double digits scoring for the first time this season as he missed seven of his nine shots on Monday to finish with just five points.

But part of that had to do with Bradley passing up shots he normally takes, as well as him missing some he normally knocks down.

Considering his lay-off and the rhythm his teammates have been in shooting the ball in his absence, Bradley wisely decided to get his defensive bearings on track and gradually bring his offensive game around. 

“I have to get my (shooting) rhythm back,” said Bradley who is making a career-best 40.9 percent of his 3-pointers this season. “I’m fine. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”